In an explosive new book, a former top Chinese sports official has accused a member of the International Olympic Committee of seeking to torpedo a secret vote over Beijing's bid to host the 2008 Games.
Yuan Weimin, 70, former minister of sports, laid out the accusation in his book "Winds and Clouds of the World of Sports," which has erupted into a mud-slinging match between him and Chinese IOC member He Zhenliang.
While detailing backdoor workings at an IOC meeting in Moscow in 2001, Yuan said China had agreed to support Jacques Rogge's bid for IOC president in exchange for support from European IOC members for Beijing's bid.
Both issues were voted on at the same meeting with Rogge becoming the eighth IOC president and Beijing winning the rights to host the 2008 Games.
"In order for the Beijing Olympic bid to succeed, we actively worked on China's friends, hoping that they would give their votes to Rogge," Yuan wrote.
"But this important Chinese IOC member was counterproductive and asked our friends to vote for (South Korean) Kim Un-yong. He clearly knew that this was not beneficial to Beijing."
Although not named in the book, He, an IOC member since 1981 and a former IOC vice president, immediately shot back with his association calling on the publisher to stop printing the book, the Yangtze Evening News has reported.
The book's contents "contain many inaccuracies concerning 'a certain important Chinese IOC member' that defames our association head He Zhenliang," the paper quoted a letter from the Chinese Association for the Promotion of Olympic Culture sent to the publisher a week after the book went on sale on October 11.
This "is a question of harming our nation's honour and leaking state secrets," it said, apparently referring to China's backdoor dealings at the IOC meeting.
In an interview with Phoenix television, He insisted the IOC vote was a secret ballot and Yuan could not know how he voted.
"It is ridiculous for the writer of this book to say I voted for such and such a person and that I did not vote for Rogge," He, 80, said.
In the book, Yuan also denied that he was under investigation for corruption and defended his efforts to control a doping scandal during his watch which greatly damaged China's sports image.